MRWA Operator Certification Circuit Rider
April 10, 2017 – The Great American Water Taste Test will determine Missouri’s best tasting water April 26 in Ashland, Missouri. The event takes place in conjunction with the annual Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) Legislative Open House and Fish Fry, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Association office at 901 Richardson Drive in Ashland.
Preliminary judging occurred April 3 when 20 submitted samples from around the state were narrowed to a field of five finalists. Water samples that made it to the final bracket represent the following public water systems: Bull Creek Village in Taney County, Cape Girardeau Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 2, City of Centerville in Reynolds County, St. Francois County PWSD 2, and Texas County PWSD 1.
Judges for the April 26 finals include one representative from each of three organizations: United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD), Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), and local city government from Ashland. Criteria for best tasting water include clarity, bouquet, and taste. Judges will individually score each sample with a 10-point ranking system. The sample with the best overall score is declared the winner.
Meanwhile, a gathering of people from water systems, RD, DNR, and other interested individuals will enjoy delicious food and a relaxing atmosphere for strengthening existing relationships or acquiring new acquaintances. The cookout includes fried fish, potatoes, hush puppies, assorted side dishes, and Dutch oven cobblers for dessert.
The Open House falls on the eve of the annual MRWA Jefferson City Day. The morning of April 27 begins with a breakfast meeting for those participating in the event. MRWA Executive Director Randy Norden will introduce Missouri Senator Dan Hegeman (R), pictured right, to offer some insights into current legislation. Afterwards, MRWA Lobbyist Harry Hill will discuss the status of key bills which the Association is tracking. Norden will then offer personal observations and advice before dismissing the group to leave for the Capitol.
Jefferson City Day is meant to bring water system personnel together with their district representatives and senators to discuss issues that have potential impact upon these public utilities.
This is a perfect opportunity to introduce representatives from the system winning the Great American Water Taste Test to their state senator and representative. These gatherings usually include introductions on senate and house floors, photographs with their legislators, and a request for senate and house resolutions commemorating this accomplishment.
John Hopkins and his wife, Carma, from the City of Humansville, received this reception last year as that city captured the title of “best tasting water.” State Senator Mike Parson of District 28 and District 128 Representative Sue Entlicher introduced them on their respective floors of government.
Besides bridging the divide between legislators and their public water system constituents during Jefferson City Day, MRWA provides a free deli lunch at mid-day on the 3rd floor Rotunda of the Capitol. The meal is offered to legislators and their staff members to help reinforce awareness of proposed legislation and how it affects these utilities.
Even after the day’s events conclude, MRWA continues its vigilance regarding legislation and proposed bills. Part of its service on behalf of water and wastewater systems is keeping a watchful eye for legislative bills worthy of support or worth the effort to defeat, depending upon the implications for these utilities.
Also ongoing will be involvement with the winning system of the water taste test. It will receive the Best Tasting Water trophy and a free luncheon on home turf at a later date as an additional celebration of its victory.
This winning water system will also represent Missouri in the nationwide taste test, which occurs in Washington, D.C. during the following February as part of Rural Water Rally Week. This event is sponsored by National Rural Water Association, of which MRWA is an affiliate.